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Board not sold on upkeep supervisor for sports venues
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Manteca Unified could look to add a supervisor specifically to handle and oversee the athletic venues at the high schools.
Some of the school board members, however, believe the money could be better spent on upgrading the facilities.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the elected leaders opted to table the job description of an “addition of a Supervisor of Grounds, Fields, and Landscape Services” to gather more information.
Trustee Kathy Howe, for starters, would prefer to get input from the district’s groundkeepers before moving forward while board Vice President Bob Wallace believed that the principals and athletic directors at Manteca High, East Union High, Sierra High, Weston Ranch High and Lathrop High should also have a say in the matter.
Board President Stephen Schuler questioned if the current staff under the direction of Supervisor John Lopez could be more effective by working together as a group.
According to Superintendent Jason Messer, each high school has two groundkeepers – or 10 altogether – on staff.
The site principal is in charge of overseeing the operation.
Messer recently made a visit to some of the athletic venues.
“At Weston Ranch, the track was in severe condition and unusable,” he said. “At East Union, the track was flooded – pallets were placed on the track (as a bridge) for the soccer players.
“The Weston Ranch High tennis courts have cracks – as the cracks get bigger, the courts will become unusable.”
The district groundkeepers also tend to the elementary schools and alternative educational sites.
The proposed plan calls for the current grounds supervisor – in this case, Lopez – to continue handling the elementary and alternative school sites while the new post would be a “working supervisor” position, Messer said.
By that, he’ll be out on the field, making sure that the sporting facilities are safe and useable by providing his “levels of expertise and levels of accountability,” said Messer.
The new post, if approved, would report to district officials, namely, Messer and Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.
“The principals will still give their input at the schools,” Messer added.
Trustee Eric Duncan, however, has a history with the MUSD sports facilities as a both a parent and a coach.
He appeared more in favor of upgrading the sporting venues rather than adding a new position.
Duncan, in recent years, coached track at Weston Ranch High and served as the defensive coordinator for the Cougars football program.
He was all but embarrassed about the condition of the track.
Duncan also pointed out that one of his sons (Erron Duncan) suffered a variety of injuries, in part, from playing on the WRHS football field over the years, sitting out the past season as a red shirt freshman at UC Davis while “he continues to heal his body.”
He added: “I think if we upgrade the track that will take care of itself.”
Trustees will revisit this item at their April meeting.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail